Single-minded Clarets boss Sean Dyche isn’t taking his foot off the gas as promotion moves ever closer.
Burnley will be back in the Premier League as early as tomorrow if they beat Middlesbrough at Turf Moor, and Derby County fail to beat Huddersfield Town at home.
But the focus that has served him and his players so well so far this season doesn’t change - it is about preparing for the next game, and making sure they are ready to face Boro - who inflicted one of Burnley’s four league defeats in the reverse fixture at the Riverside on Boxing Day.
“Promotion” and “Premier League” are not words entering the equation for Dyche just yet, and he said after Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Barnsley: “The next game’s the big one.
“It’s what we’ve been focusing on all season and it won’t change.
“Why would we go away from that?
“We’ve used that as a mental weapon and told them we’ve got to recover now, we’ll get ready for the next game.”
But with Burnley only facing two more away games, at Blackpool on Good Friday and the final day at Reading, Dyche noted: “The marvellous thing is we have three out of four home games now.”
Dean Marney returned to the side after a two-match suspension at Barnsley, while Danny Ings was back in the side after five games out with a sprained ankle.
Kieran Trippier was on the bench after sitting out four games with a hamstring tear, and Dyche erred on the side of caution with the right back: “Kieran wanted to play but I made the decision.
“I felt he’d only had a couple of days’ real training, and felt it was too early.
“We were just careful.”
Meanwhile, Sam Vokes underwent surgery on his ruptured anterior cruciate knee ligament on Wednesday.
Vokes was at Oakwell on his crutches to cheer his teammates on, and Dyche said: “Sam’s played a massive part in what we’re trying to achieve, and the way he’s been going about it. He asked to come, and I said ‘absolutely’.
“That camaraderie and feelgood factor is great.
“There’s no timeframe on his return, the main thing now is to get the operation done.”